Ways to Protect Yourself from Cybercrime

Times of Disruption are Ripe for Cybercrimes

It’s not pleasant to think about, but it’s an unfortunate reality: as we increase our use of technology, we increase our vulnerability to cybercrime. And, as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts nearly every aspect of everyday life, it’s important to protect yourself from cybercrime as criminals use the situation to exploit the prevailing feelings of uncertainty, confusion, and fear.

Dangerous fake emails are capitalizing on anxiety over the unknown. Charity and fundraising cons are on a sharp rise, preying on benevolence and goodwill. And consumers are being bombarded with all kinds of scams relating to employment/unemployment assistance, vaccines and cures, changes to credit card terms, stimulus funding, and so much more.

With the number of widespread data breaches that have occurred in recent years, cybersecurity experts believe that nearly every American has personal data that is already exposed. A Gallup poll substantiates that belief, reporting that nearly a quarter of Americans were victims of cybercrime in 2018. This number might not come as much of a surprise when you consider that in the same year, hackers stole half a billion personal records.

And those numbers are growing daily – particularly during these scary and confusing times.

Do you own a new or luxury vehicle or a home? Are you college-educated? Do you play tennis or ski? Travel frequently? Are you interested in politics? Take part in charitable endeavors, culture, or the arts? Unfortunately, answering yes to any of these fairly common questions means you’re at an even greater risk.

Cybercriminals especially target affluent or high net worth individuals simply because they offer a big payoff for relatively low risk. Those with high net worth tend to have more access points, more accounts, and more associations. And it’s been found that affluent individuals rarely report cybercrimes because they’re either unaware, embarrassed, uncertain, or too busy.

The reality is bleak, but there are steps we can all take to protect ourselves from cybercrime and mitigate the risks associated with navigating a digital world.

That’s why we partner with Neal O’Farrell, one of the world’s original security and privacy experts, and one of the few with more than a decade of experience working with affluent and high net worth consumers and their families. With Neal’s expert guidance, we developed Bartlett’s Cybersecurity Education Center, a comprehensive website that offers a wide variety of resources to improve cybersecurity, including cybersecurity tips, security guides, videos, and self audits, and more.

And we recently turned to Neal O’Farrell, and his colleague, Brett Johnson, for a virtual discussion on the current state of digital affairs, including cybersecurity tips for today’s landscape and the dark web’s role in cybercrime. You can view the full conversation, Behind the Screens 2020, here.

In the coming months, we plan to take a deeper dive into cybersecurity tips and steps each of us can take to better safeguard ourselves against vulnerabilities online and to share some of the ways Bartlett works to keep our client’s sensitive information safe. In the meantime, we hope you will access Bartlett’s cybersecurity resources to learn more about how to improve your cybersecurity, and share this valuable information with family, friends, business and social connections, employees, and anyone else you know.

Like it or not, cyber and privacy risks are very real, so it’s important to take proactive steps to protect yourself from cybercrime. The more successful you become, the more likely you are to become a target… and the more you have to lose if you do fall victim. We take your security very seriously – not just in your interactions with Bartlett, but in every aspect of your life.

As always, contact your Bartlett financial advisor or call our office at (513) 621-4612 to speak to a cybersecurity professional if you have any questions related to information security.

Neal O’Farrell and Brett Johnson are two of the most experienced, compelling, and straight-talking cybercrime and identity fraud experts. Their combined experience spans more than 60 years, across the country and around the world. Neal is an award-winning cybercrime fighter, and Brett is a former cybercrime mastermind who now uses his expertise and insight to educate and protect consumers.

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